Gene Hackman is 90 this week and was a Hollywood stalwart for decades, despite being voted ‘least likely to succeed’ by his acting school peers along with Dustin Hoffman. He had a tough start in life with an abusive, angry father who walked out on the family when he was 13 and was a troubled youth. He volunteered at 16 for the marines for adventure and ran into problems with authority figures there. His early twenties were rootless but he stuck at acting until he broke through in Bonnie and Clyde in a supporting role, going on to the successful French Connection and Mississippi Burning amongst others.
Friends describe him variously as “a tormented guy, always into his own space, his own thing”; full of “great joie de vivre”; an inveterate “loner”. His volatile bust-ups with directors prompted the nickname “Vesuvius” – although he was forgiven for his temper tantrums. One said: “There’s something very charismatic in him, even when he’s being his worst.” Kevin Costner said: “Gene was simply the best actor I worked with.” He retired some years ago.
Born 30 January 1930 7.45 am San Bernadino, California, he has a charmingly stubborn 12th house Sun Venus and Moon in Aquarius, making him creative and reclusive at times; with his Sun Venus in an amiable and lucky trine to Jupiter. His argumentative Mars Mercury in Capricorn opposes a 5th house Pluto which will give him a volcanic temper, a legacy of his dominating father. Pluto in the performing 5th would prompt him towards an audience-attracting career. His Saturn square Uranus will make him fairly autocratic. He’s quite a mass of contradictions.
His actor’s 15th Harmonic is notable, as his leaving-a-legacy 17H and his superstar 22H.